article by Diane Shawe M.Ed
Leadership can possibly be defined as the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organisations of which they are representatives. Leadership is not dependant on title or formal authority and is often feared by some management teams as a potential threat to their job if opened up to other members within the team.
All too often we think of leadership as a higher order of management, something we will develop and apply subsequently rather than earlier in our profession.
This applies to both leadership within our chosen occupational discipline and leadership of our profession. In the early stages of a career, most people naturally focus on the practical aspects of their career. They begin their careers applying the vocational disciplinary information and skills they acquired in college or university and focus on those aspects that will ensure a job, promotion and success early in their career. However Leadership is something that should be considered and fostered early and often throughout our entire professional career.
Leadership is a subject that has been studied, discussed, and debated across a wide variety of disciplines for centuries. There are numerous books, articles, and self-improvement courses on the subject – so many that the interested student on the subject of leadership might at first be discouraged.
The purpose of this article is not to be exhaustive but instead to signpost you to a practical on-line training course that will introduce to you a fundamental training that forms the foundation for both the theory and practice of leadership and to outline some of my own tips.
So what are my seven tips on The Kind of Leader Others Want to Follow
Well before I set out my tips, The key to becoming an effective leader is not to concentrate on making other people follow, but on making your own self the kind of person they want to follow. You will need to become someone others can trust to take them where they want to go. The seven following tips are also useful:
1. Find out if your ego is getting in the way.
The truly great leaders are not in leadership for personal gain. They lead in order to serve other people.
2. Become a active listener.
Rare is the effective leader who didn’t learn because they could not effectively listen. There is a lot to be said about becoming an effective follower in order to become and effective leader, but you cannot achieve this without listening.
3. Being negative just does not cut it.
Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. If you spend time using that influence to cause a destructive and negative result to an organisation then your potential leadership quality is flawed.
4. Work with excellence.
No one respects and follows mediocrity. Leaders who earn the right to lead give their all to what they do. They bring into play not only their skills and talents, but also great passion and hard work. They perform on the highest level of which they are capable.
5. Rely on intellect and discipline, not emotion.
Leadership is often easy during the good times. It’s when everything seems to be against you– when you’re out of energy, and you don’t want to lead– that you earn your place as a leader when all around you is flagging.
6. Added value, added value and more added value.
Men and women who helped people to live better lives and reach their potential are often revered long after they have gone. That is the highest calling of leadership– and its highest value.
7. Don’t hog your power.
Leaders are like a river, not a reservoir. If you use your power to empower others, your leadership will extend far beyond your grasp. People cannot live with air!